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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 August, 2003, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Kelly family's anger over leaks
Dr David Kelly
Dr Kelly was also being investigated by police
A letter from the family of Dr David Kelly has been released by the Hutton inquiry into the events surrounding his death.

Written by the family solicitors to government lawyers, it expresses concern that officials were briefing against Dr Kelly at a time when the government was calling for restraint after his apparent suicide.

The letter was among thousands of pages of documents submitted to the Hutton Inquiry into Dr Kelly's death and released to the public on its official website.

Its existence came to light as Tony Blair prepared to appear before the inquiry later this week.

He is set to face questions about how Dr Kelly was named as the source for a BBC story that a government dossier about Iraqi weapons was 'sexed up'.

'Walter Mitty'

In his letter to the government, Kelly family solicitor Peter Jacobsen demanded to be told if the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was responsible for Dr Kelly being called a "Walter Mitty" type fantasist.

We are to resist any attempt by the police to interview Kelly
MoD official
Read the full documents

The claim was made by Mr Blair's official spokesman Tom Kelly after the scientist's death.

Mr Kelly later insisted that was not the government's view and apologised for intruding on the family's grief.

Mr Jacobsen also asked who was behind a report in The Independent newspaper, which quoted an unnamed MoD spokesmen as saying Dr Kelly was being investigated for his contacts with journalists "long before the current difficulties".

'Blair's Watergate'

Around 9,000 pages including private e-mails and memos submitted by the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence, the BBC, the Commons foreign affairs committee and newspapers, were published on the inquiry's website.

Some of them would normally have been kept secret for 30 years.

If Dr K name becomes public will government be criticised for putting him under 'wider pressure'?
Note from meeting of Tony Blair and his advisers
Read the full document

Following their publication Labour left-winger Jeremy Corbyn MP said the Dr Kelly affair had become Mr Blair's Watergate.

He said: "The longer this inquiry goes on, the more e-mails appear, the more documents appear, the more damning evidence appears."

Shadow defence secretary Bernard Jenkin said: "What we have seen so far is the entrails of the New Labour government laid out before the public in a way that is quite staggering."

He said the findings of the Hutton Inquiry would say more about the Labour government as a whole than they would about the role of individuals like Alastair Campbell and Geoff Hoon.

"What we are looking for ... from Lord Hutton, eventually is a series of recommendation that will put the running of the British government on to a proper and reliable footing," Mr Jenkin said.

Private meetings

Tony Blair's involvement in the naming of Dr Kelly faced fresh scrutiny following the release of the documents.

They showed Mr Blair held private meetings at Number 10 to discuss whether to announce Dr Kelly's admission that he had met Andrew Gilligan, the BBC journalist at the centre of the row.

Other facts uncovered in the documents include:

  • BBC journalist Eloise Twist sent an e-mail before the disputed story was broadcast reading: "Gilligan - has a v. good story he hasn't stood up yet. I'll explain in the meeting."

  • Press chief Alastair Campbell urged the prime minister to be "calm" when questioned by MPs about the story, but "more combative" when talking about the general Iraq issue.

  • Joint Intelligence Committee chairman John Scarlett said that at a meeting on 8 July it was agreed the fact that Dr Kelly came forward about speaking to the BBC would inevitably become public.

  • An e-mail shows a newspaper journalist told Mr Campbell on 8 July he had received a tip about the BBC's source, but the press chief said it was "wrong".

  • Another series of e-mails shows MoD officials discussing a separate police investigation into the leak of a top secret document to Mr Gilligan, but Mr Kelly was not interviewed because the MoD had "no reason to suspect" he had broken the Official Secrets Act.



WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Carolyn Quinn
"The family are concerned by reports that Dr Kelly was already being investigated over his link with journalists"



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